5G Conspiracy Theories and Other Popular Delusions.

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Author: Sean Kelly
Date: Summer 2021
From: Skeptic (Altadena, CA)(Vol. 26, Issue 3)
Publisher: Skeptics Society & Skeptic Magazine
Document Type: Article
Length: 1,677 words
Lexile Measure: 1540L

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CONSPIRACY THEORIES OFTEN POP UP AROUND significant events, such as those that typically follow tragic school shootings. The bombing in Nashville, TN that happened in late 2020 was no different, with speculation swirling almost immediately. One of the biggest conspiracies attached to that incident was rumored to have been held by Anthony Quinn Warner, the man responsible for the attack.

Some reports speculated that Warner set off the bomb near an AT&T building because he believed that 5G was responsible for his father's death and wanted AT&T to pay for his loss. By the time the attack took place, there had already been conspiracy theories about 5G circulating around the internet, with people latching on to them and making claims about the dangers of 5G. Some believed it caused cancer, while others believed it harmful to trees and plants.

How many people truly believe conspiracy theories like the ones relating to 5G? InMyArea.com conducted a survey to get a sense of what people believe and don't believe when it comes to tech conspiracies, and the results were at once revealing and disturbing (https://bit.ly/2QUTY8t). To conduct the survey, the team used the Amazon Mechanical Turk system to collect respondents, who had to report being aware of 5G to qualify for the survey. In total, 991 people were surveyed--42% women and 57.1% men. Three respondents were nonbinary and three respondents chose not to disclose their gender. The average age of their respondents was 38.5 with a standard deviation of 12.2 years.

5G Theories

Among the nearly 1,000 people who took part in the survey, an astonishing 24% said they believed at least one 5G theory to be true. The theory that most people surveyed had heard of was the cancer conspiracy, with 50% saying they were familiar with it, though only 10% of those said they actually believed it.

Other 5G-related conspiracies that respondents were asked about included one claiming that 5G causes or exacerbates COVID-19. Of those surveyed, 36% said they were familiar with the theory, while only 6% said they believed it to be true. (The conspiracy theory contends that the energy from the 5G towers weakens human immune systems thereby making them more susceptible to the disease caused by the SARS-C0V-2 virus.)

Another 5G conspiracy that made the rounds on the internet suspects that Bill Gates was using 5G to track Americans, which 35% of respondents had heard, and 13% believed to be true. (Believers in this conspiracy theory seem to forget that tech companies are already tracking...

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Gale Document Number: GALE|A681541780